The Internal Revenue Service wants you to pay taxes on time. That being said, it understands this is not always possible and has created a program for such situations.
The Internal Revenue Service is very upfront about its goal in dealing with taxpayers. While it obviously wants to collect all taxes due, it is also focused on keeping you in the system. This attitude is a relatively recent change undertaken in the 1990s. The IRS essentially determined it made better financial sense to have you in the system versus spending hundreds of man hours hunting you down. In practical terms, this means you need not have a panic attack if you do not have sufficient funds to meet your tax obligation. If you panicked this past tax deadline, there was no need.
The IRS will put you on a payment plan if you cannot pay your taxes on time. The plan calls for monthly payments like a car loan, to wit, they are an equal amount each month so you know what you are obligated to pay.
You are only eligible for a payment plan if you file a tax return. Once you file, you want to use form 9465 to request the payment plan. It costs $43 to file the application. The IRS will then get back to you on what it is willing to do. The payment plan process is not an audit. Millions of people apply each year and the IRS considers it standard operating procedure. No red flags are raised when you file the application. To the contrary, the IRS tends to view you as an honest tax payer since you are acknowledging the full amount due and trying to find a way to pay.
Importantly, the payment plan should be viewed as a means to buy time. Making the monthly payments will eventually pay off the debt, but it will take years. Interest on the amount you owe will also continue to accrue. The best strategy for using the plan is to make the monthly payments while saving up money to make a lump sum payment to satisfy the debt.
If you cannot pay the taxes you owe, do not panic. The payment plan option will keep you out of trouble with Uncle Sam.
Richard A. Chapo is with BusinessTaxRecovery.com - providing information on taxes .